US flies B-52 bombers over S. Korea

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Pentagon press secretary George Little AFP

SEOUL – The United States said it was flying training missions of nuclear-capable B-52 bombers over South Korea, in a clear signal to North Korea at a time of escalating military tensions.

The flights — part of annual joint South Korea-US military exercises — should be seen as underscoring US commitment and capacity to defend Seoul against an attack from the North, Pentagon spokesman George Little said.

In response to UN sanctions imposed after its third nuclear test last month, North Korea has warned of a “second Korean war” and threatened pre-emptive nuclear strikes on the South and the United States.

Little said a B-52 from Andersen Air Force base in Guam, flew over South Korea on March 8 as part of a military exercise dubbed “Foal Eagle.”

“The B-52 Stratofortress can perform a variety of missions including carrying precision-guided conventional or nuclear ordnance,” he said Monday.

B-52s have taken part in annual exercises before, but Little said the Pentagon wanted to underline their use this time given the current, heightened tensions, and he added that further B-52 flights would be carried out.

“We’re drawing attention to the fact that we have extended deterrence capabilities that we believe are important to demonstrate in the wake of recent North Korean rhetoric,” he said.

That message was echoed in Seoul on Monday by visiting Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, who promised to provide South Korea with every available military resource “offered by the US nuclear umbrella”.

In a major announcement on Friday, the United States unveiled plans to bolster its own missile defenses in direct response to the growing threat posed by North Korea.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced that 14 more interceptors would be stationed in Alaska, increasing by almost half the 30 already deployed along the California and Alaska coastlines.

Hagel said the defence upgrade was designed to “stay ahead of the threat” from North Korea, which is still believed to be years from having a missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead to the continental United States.

The US initiative did not go down well in Beijing, where the Chinese foreign ministry warned that any effort to increase military capacity would only serve to “intensify antagonism”.

China is North Korea’s sole major ally and main trading partner.

Although it backed the latest UN sanctions against Pyongyang, analysts say China’s main concern is to avoid sudden regime collapse in Pyongyang that might result in a US-allied, reunified Korea.

Despite its growing isolation and the stepped-up international pressure, North Korea insists its plan to develop a viable nuclear deterrent is “unshakeable” and non-negotiable.

On the first day of negotiations for a conventional weapons treaty at UN headquarters on Monday, the North’s deputy UN ambassador Ri Tong-Il proclaimed the North’s “very proud and powerful” position as the latest nuclear weapons state.

Ri also denounced what he termed a US policy of “nuclear blackmail” that he insisted would “in the long run give birth to more nuclear weapons states”.

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Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of INQUIRER.net. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/XFH3CDZSZKVLX4G74PJOQ3L64U Natx Bacalzo

    N Korea’s kim jun un, his generals, military and sadly, innocent n. koreans can commit state suicide by attacking south korea first. a US-allied unified korea will also mean china will now have hole in its northeast borders.

  • Raffy

    Why wait? Just bomb them….if north strikes South Korea with a nuclear weapon, then thats considered a huge loss..I’d rather not underestimate thier capabilities…Its pretty obvious North Korea only wants to make trouble..what have they done for the world? Nothing….Its time to put the little boy to sleep.

    • i_am_filipino

      Lol.

  • Jane Tan

    May Kim Jong Un just happened to watch Red Dawn and got a good idea from it =p

    • Maligalig

      Hahahaha… you’re right

  • Crazy_horse101010

    the iraqis and north vietnamese were scared of the b 52s than anything else when the dropped their bombs you couldnt breath and they sucked you right of any holes you were hiding it

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/SPLUBLEOSERDBOIJTDOC6XIWGU mxsclxmxn

      really? is that s why the vietcong won the war?

      • Crazy_horse101010

        you read your history -janurary 27 1973 america north vietnam and south vietnam signed a treaty whereas america and north vietnam would leave the south in 60 days and the furtre of the south would be decided by elections after america left north and south started fighting again which lasted 2 more years there was no b 52s around then and it was the north that beat the south the north keep stalling on the treaty so nixon sent in the b 52s to bomb the north they decided to sign the treaty then anything else. really

      • $5699914

        He can’t read true historical accounts….promise!

      • patrickinca

        Are you supposed to be screaming jihad to non-catholics on the other forums?

      • Crazy_horse101010

        good one

      • ed_dAVAO

        There’s no A-bomb before. Vietcong guerilla is no match against a nuclear bomb.

  • $18209031

    Hala mag gyera na kayo dyan. Let the good times roll baby!!

    • bugoybanggers

      Damay ang Pilipinas dito, maraming mawawalan ng trabaho ang mga Pilipino.

  • tarikan

    No need for these B-52s or the additional ICBM interceptors. Just stop giving food aid and starve them NoKors that will do. Mga generals ni Kim pati na si dear & fat leader mamamatay sa GUTOM dilat ang mata. Their bellicose rhetoric will die with them.

  • Guest

    The US has the military capability to wipe out North Korea’s entire leadership, command and control, military barracks, missile launch bases, and its 3000 artillery tubes trained at Seoul in the first 3 hours.

  • K8

    It would be suicide to engage war with the US…

  • http://www.facebook.com/kung.tufo Kung Tufo Tufo

    North Korea is China’s puppet and later cannot be controlled by his master. Unified Korea is China’s enemy in the future.

  • Free___Speech

    Why are they so worried about North Korea? The Americans would probably overrun them within a few days and then bomb this frikken place to the ground.

  • white scorpion

    itong north korea, wala na nga malamon. nakikipagpaligsahan pa sa nuclear. don’t push your luck, mr kim. the b-52’s bomber will bomb you out of your COMFORT ROOM.

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